Two things I should have known before yesterday but didn't:
1. When you buy mussels, they are alive.
2. When you tap the shells, they must close, otherwise they are dead.
I bet you guys knew that, and for some reason no one told me. Cool guys, real cool. Anyway, thanks to my REAL FRIEND GOOGLE, I figured it out for myself. It was actually pretty awesome! I had this quick panic attack when I saw that a lot of the mussels were opened prior to cooking, but once I learned all you have to do is tap them and watch the little dude slowly close his shell, and then you're all set to cook them - I relaxed. I used a Tyler Florence recipe which I can't find online, so I will recap...
Rinse and scrub clean your mussels. Tap the shells closed. If they do not close, throw them away.
In a pot, melt 4 T butter and 2 T olive oil. Add lots of chopped garlic, shallots, a half of a lemon, thinly sliced, and four thyme sprigs. Cook until softened.
Add mussels, stir. (My sister and I both really enjoy the "clinkety clank" that shellfish make when you stir them in a pot. We pretty much enjoy all food-related sounds.) Then add 3/4 cup white wine and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Then cover, lower to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven't opened. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Serve with crusty bread.